> After saying for years that I will get a lathe when I retire, my
> decided I might not live that long and gave me a lathe for my
> irthday( 43rd).... but I've never used one before.
> I'm on the way to the bookshop later today... and have found a few
> the web.... but even they assume you know something about woodturning
> what height should the toolrest be - centre or above or below etc).
> start reading later today.... but if anyone knows of a site for a
> BEGINNER please let me know... or even if you have some really basic
> mean basic) hints or tips... or any info will do.
The following URL will take you to a site where Brian Clifford is
writing an online book for woodturners. It's not complete yet but then
nor are your skills so you should find something interesting/helpful.
If you want really basic hints or tips .....
1 make sure your wood is well secured on the lathe before starting it.
2 spin the wood by hand to make sure it won't hit anything, e.g
toolrest, if it isn't properly round once the lathe is started.
3 begin at a low speed, you'll figure this one out quickly enough!
4 start with "firewood pieces". This means either using bits of wood
that were in the firewood pile or being of a mind that anything you
make is going to end up as firewood.
5 This is number one really but I didn't want to appear to be preaching.
Wear safety gear for all the bits that you value. If you're not sure
what to value start with eyes, lungs and progress to hands, knees and
bumps-a-daisy if you find that the lathe and the wood part company a
lot. (Caveat, never wear gloves when turning...some do and will advise
otherwise, but these are my tips).
6 Don't force the issue with your tools, give them chance to cut and
keep them sharp.
7 Heights. The general rule of thumb is the spindle height should be
about elbow height. The tool rest will be above, below and on centre at
various times but it doesn't really matter to the extent that it should
be something to pre-occupy yourself with. Eventually you'll find
yourself putting it at the height you want without really thinking
about where it is exactly, relative to centre height.
8 Back to the lateral; the toolrest needs to be placed closeish to the
work. This is so that the downward force of the wood on the tool tip is
not so great that you find it difficult to maintain control of the
tool. As you remove material the gap between toolrest and wood
increases so you need to move the toolrest in again to regain that
9 You've read number 6 and you're already thinking how do I sharpen
these tools. Tip number 9 is don't fret about sharpening. At first
you're skills will be lousy and your tools not very sharp, but your
pieces will still burn. Later your skills will improve and you'll
acquire more knowledge of how to sharpen, the two should improve in
tandem and your pieces will start to adorn the fireplace.
10 Don't always be looking over your shoulder at how wonderful everbody
else's turnings are and thinking you'll never do anything worthwhile.
If you're turning rubbish and having the time of your life it's working
for you. If you want to improve on the rubbish don't be content with
the level you're at and things will get better. If you're happy with
the rubbish, like I said it's working for you, just develop a thick
There you are my ten top tips. Then of course there's sanding,
finishing, selling your work.........
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